Monday, July 9, 2012

nel mezzo del cammin -- crisis!

Good morning, everybody.

This post is related to this entry in my dream journal.

However, I'd also like to note that I'm going to start putting drawings in my dream journal. I put my first drawing in this dream journal entry.

I would really love to make one drawing per dream journal entry. If I can do it, I will. If not, I'll do as many as I can. But I'll at least hold myself to no less than two drawings a week. I'm also going to try and go back to some of my more popular posts and put drawings into those posts.

The two images from last night's dreams that really stand out for me are the image of the soldier and the image of the table of contents. I think they both come from Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens.

Little Dorrit is divided into two sections: one called "Poverty," and the other called "Riches." I'm just getting toward the end of the "Poverty" section now. Little Dorrit is probably most famous for its depiction of the Circumlocution Office, which sets out to find what needs to be done in England, and then sets up schemes for "How Not To Do It."

I think these two ideas blended together in my dream to create a table of contents in two halves, one half of which seems to be constantly repeating itself and getting nowhere, and the other half of which may be more exciting.

But I think this relates pretty well to my life. I'm getting toward the end of the first half of my life (if I'm lucky enough to live another day, week, month, year, etc.). And, looking back on the first half of my life, I see the same old weaknesses and lazinesses repeated, over and over.

Could the second half of my life be more interesting than I'd made the first half? Well... I judge the "creator" of this book (who could actually be myself) as being too stupid for me to want to care about. So I shut the book and turn my head away from it. That's a little bleak. And a little frightening. It makes me look like I'm shutting the book of my own life!

Although I do have to say that I do have a different orientation toward the "creator" or "creators" of this book. I do look at them as being other people. This may mean that I need guidance from other people in my life.

But in the past I've always looked at myself (in my more arrogant moments, which are, like, all the time) as being smarter than everybody else. If I were actually to take advice from the people around me, listen to what people tell me, and apply what people tell me to the things I do in life, would I have a lot more interesting and effective life?

Maybe the first half of my life has repeated and repeated and wallowed around in these same old problems specifically because I've been too hard-headed to listen to the people around me. And maybe if I just listen to the people around me -- and, more importantly, do what they tell me to do -- I can live a more interesting life.

But -- the dream still ends on a bleak note, even considering things that way. Because I'm still too hard-headed to listen to anybody. I'd rather just slam the book shut on the second half of my life and turn my head away, rather than admit that other people in this world could actually know better than I do!

Wow -- I can't believe I am so arrogant!

The soldier reminds me of a character in Little Dorrit named Mr. Meagles. One of the basic plot ideas of Little Dorrit is that there are all these characters who had been quarantined while travelling through Marseilles. But then they're let go, and they all go their separate ways -- though it appears that all their separate ways are "to London." Anyway, they eventually all meet up, and their lives intertwine in interesting ways.

The main character is a man named Arthur Clennam. Clennam is walking down the street one day when he re-encounters Mr. Meagles, who had been quarantined with him in Marseilles. Meagles has with him an engineer-inventor named Danny Doyce. Doyce has just been wrung through the Circumlocution Office while trying to get a patent on a new invention of his. He can't make money on the product (I guess) without the patent. But the Circumlocution Office is, it seems, concerned only with how not to get Doyce his patent.

Meagles, who is a bit bureaucratic himself, has taken Doyce under his wing. And it appears that Clennam later on gets involved in taking more care of the business aspect of Doyce's pursuits. But when Clennam first meets with Meagles again, Meagles is in such consternation over the runaround Doyce has gotten from the Circumlocution Office that he keeps on taking off his hat and rubbing his head in a frenzy, complaining about how terribly hot it is.

Danny Doyce is a bit of a parallel to Little Dorrit (or Amy Dorrit, as she's properly called). Both are very eager, diligent workers. Both have a spark of genius about them. Doyce's genius seems to be his ability to invent. Little Dorrit's genius seems to be her persistent care and kindness (19th century attitudes towards women much?). And Clennam seems to be the catalyst for both of them, the person who is looking to serve their administrative, practical, business needs in order to get them set on the right path in life.

Arthur Clennam is, I should say, probably my favorite male character in any Dickens novel I've read . I mean -- he is so far. I'm not through with the novel yet.

I'd like to identify myself with Arthur Clennam, just because he seems to be so caring, and so interested in getting things done, and so interested in serving people. But I think I identify more with the weaknesses in Little Dorrit and Danny Doyce, while also aspiring to their flashes of genius.

The soldier in my dream is obviously taking his actions from Mr. Meagles. Standing in front of Meagles, who is complaining about the demands of the business woman (who could be my dream version of the Circumlocution Office), I could be Doyce, or I could be Clennam. I don't know who I am. Or Meagles could be one aspect of myself, embodied in the soldier, and I, seeing through "my eyes," could be another aspect of myself, as either Doyce or Clennam. But I don't know which.

It's pretty funny. I never end with a very clear picture of what my dreams are trying to say.

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